Originally Published: August 1, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I’m a writer and photographer for a regional magazine. In my town, there’s a local celebrity whom I think has gotten a big career on not-so-big talent. He gets press coverage everywhere for almost everything he does — except in my little corner of culture writing. I have not pitched any articles about him and instead cover lesser-known people. In my mind, I’m lending credence to the those who have actually worked hard and don’t just market themselves well, but I worry that my pettiness is apparent and will limit me career-wise. Which way should I go? — Rolling My Eyes
Dear Rolling My Eyes: If almost every other publication is covering this man, then surely no one misses him when he’s not in your magazine. Still, I’d encourage you to drop your angle and consider, as objectively as possible, whether whatever he is doing is newsworthy and would be of interest to your readers. If deep down you know the answer is yes, put aside your own feelings and feature him. If the answer really is no, then stop worrying about being perceived as petty.
By the way, these days, people with mediocre talent can exceed if they’re savvy at self-promotion, and that’s really not your local celebrity’s fault; it’s simply the times we’re living in, for better or worse.
Dear Annie: There are renters who recently moved into our neighborhood. They have two children around the age of 8 who help with chores and seem very well-mannered. Lately, a neighborhood boy around the same age has become a frequent visitor at the house and constant playmate. The boy, whom I’ll call “Johnny,” is well-known ... and not for good reasons. He has vandalized property, purposely walks out in front of cars, uses bad language and defies authority.
Johnny used to hang out at another house in the neighborhood but is no longer welcome there because the father decided he was “a bad influence.” I feel for Johnny. He is being raised by elderly grandparents who are in bad health and offer little oversight. However, I also wonder if I should warn the neighbor’s parents about Johnny’s history. What do you think? — Concerned in Georgia
Dear Concerned: Your intentions are good, but you know what they say about good intentions. Keep your thoughts to yourself for now. Your new neighbor’s children sound wonderful, and it’s two well-behaved children with one not-so-well-behaved child. They might end up influencing Johnny for the better, setting him on the straight-and-narrow. Regardless, with whom your neighbor children spend time is completely up to their parents. If their parents should come to you with questions about Johnny, then offer up your two cents.
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